Health Issues

Dear Parents/Guardians:

The Ottawa Elementary School District is aware of a national health concern, the spread of a variety of staph infection called MRSA. As reported recently in the news, a MRSA infection can be quite serious. Because MRSA is spread by close contact, it was felt parents should also be made aware of the infection and assured that the district is taking proactive preventative measures to keep students in our schools safe.

With awareness and the institution of increased cleaning measures, we feel our school environment is safe and clean. Contact with the LaSalle County Health Department has been made. They have assured us the situation is being closely monitored and will inform us if any changes occur.

What is staph or MRSA?
Staph are common bacteria found on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Staph usually does not affect a person, but may occasionally cause minor skin infections. Some of these infections have more recently become resistant to various antibiotics, causing more serious complications. This form is called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. It can be transmitted from person to person in a close contact situation. Typically, the infected area would look like an open wound on the skin with drainage.

What to do for prevention:
Seek medical attention for any cuts or wounds that appear to be infected. If you are unsure, call your doctor or notify the school nurse so the area can be inspected as soon as possible. Keep all wounds covered until healed. Promote good hygiene practices; especially hand washing. Students should avoid sharing personal items. Launder any soiled clothes thoroughly. And lastly, clean areas that may have had contact with infected skin.

Proactive measures being taken at Ottawa Elementary School District 141:

  • Custodial and maintenance crews are diligently cleaning and will continue to clean all areas of student contact.• Administrators and staff are monitoring for any signs of staph or MRSA.
  • School nurses are aware of what to look for and will send any student with suspicious areas on their skin to their doctor. Before the student may return to class, a note must be received from the doctor stating the student is free of any contagious infections.
  • Students are encouraged to practice good hygiene.
  • All recommendations made by the student health care providers will be followed as directed.

If you have further questions, please contact your child’s principal, school nurse, the LaSalle County Public Health Department and/or the Illinois Department of Public Health. I would like to thank you for your attention to this letter and I ask for your assistance in helping the school district by being proactive at home with your child’s hygiene practices.

Sincerely,

Mr. Cleve Threadgill
Superintendent